What happened to Woodrow Wilson's wife

7. The Broken Heart of the World 1919-1924 Ever since Wilson first publicly advocated a League of Nations in May 1916, he had firmly assumed that the United States would play a leading role in the world organization. The days of self-chosen isolation, he told the US Senate two days after his return from Europe, are long gone. America has matured into a world power that has to live up to its responsibilities. At the peace conference all statesmen understood the practical necessity of the League of Nations. Should it fail, the result will be another terrible war. The League of Nations, so Wilson, with his own pathos, is the "last hope of humanity ... Do we really dare to reject it and break the heart of the world?" There was no turning back for the president; America's “hand of God” had mapped out its destiny.1 Wilson knew that it would not be easy to convince his compatriots of the need to break with the long tradition of freedom of action and alliance in foreign affairs . However, the term isolationism is misleading. The US had never isolated itself economically or culturally from the rest of the world. Nonetheless, for over a hundred years the Americans had followed the admonition of their first President, George Washington, not to enter into lasting alliances and not to get caught up in Europe's bargains.2 Most of the critics of the League of Nations did not want a retreat from international politics, but saw American interests best preserved if the US retained its unrestricted freedom of action and sovereignty. Wilson, too, was a firm believer in America's moral superiority and historical mission, but he drew the conclusion from the catastrophe of the World War that Americans could no longer limit themselves to giving the world the example of a free and broken heart, 1919-1924 to give to democratic society. Joining a peace alliance, as he had already emphasized in his "Peace without Victory" speech of January 1917, was not a break with tradition, but rather its further development, not an entanglement in traditional alliances, but the realization of American principles.3 Skeptics feared meanwhile, that the League of Nations would involve the USA in all conflicts in the world and that instead of the elected representatives of the American people, an international organization could in future determine where and for what interests US soldiers would fight, in short, that the League of Nations would Would undermine the sovereignty and constitutional order of the United States. Two days after arriving in Washington, the capital's journalists confronted the president with the questions and concerns that would shape public debate over the peace treaty in the months ahead. At the center of the press conference was Article X of the League of Nations, which promised the mutual preservation of territorial integrity among the members and their political independence against external attacks. Wilson denied that the clause meant an automatic military commitment by the USA to all member states of the League of Nations, and pointed out that the League Council was only allowed to make recommendations to the member states, which then had to decide for themselves whether and how they wanted to follow the recommendations. However, the President also left no doubt that Article X was intended to give the League of Nations a real means of power. Without him, the League of Nations would become a "debating club". Wilson downplayed the alliance with France as a mere bridging measure that offered the French security against an unprovoked German attack until the League of Nations was operational.4 The decisive hurdle for the League of Nations and the peace treaty was the US Senate, which according to the Federal Constitution (Art. II, Section 2) all contracts concluded by the President with The Broken Heart of the World, 1919 - 1924 189 must be approved by a two-thirds majority of the senators present. Since the congressional elections in November 1918, the Republicans had a slim majority there, so the president also needed votes from the opposition camp to ratify the treaty. When asked whether he would be willing to accommodate his critics or possibly even accept a conditional acceptance, Wilson did not explicitly rule this out. However, he pointed out that in such a case all other signatory states would also have to agree to the American reservations and might take this opportunity to submit their own restrictions. Under no circumstances should America risk the whole treaty having to be renegotiated. But these considerations are completely hypothetical: "The Senate will ratify the treaty," so Wilson's confident prognosis.5 That was optimism, because Wilson, too, knew very well that the opposition to the League of Nations had long since formed. Even during the peace conference, the domestic political resistance had already appeared so threatening to Wilson that in mid-February, immediately after he had presented the League of Nations statutes to the general assembly, he left for the USA to promote his heart project. At this point in time, the uncompromising opponents of Wilson’s internationalism had already made their position clear. The Republican Senator William Borah from Idaho, spokesman for the so-called irreconcilable, announced his resistance even in the event "that the Redeemer should return to earth and speak out for the League of Nations." For Borah, the League of Nations bordered on treason because it would surrender the United States to foreign powers and international big business. Some of the Democratic senators from the south also considered the League of Nations to be an anti-American conspiracy.6 The most important pro-League voice among the Republicans belonged to ex-President William H. Taft, who in 1915 was one of the founders of the League to Enforce Peace and who had broken at the beginning of 190 Heart of the World, 1919 - 1924 March 1919 even appeared at a rally with Wilson. However, Taft only represented a minority in the party. Henry Cabot Lodge has been the leading figure among the Republicans since Theodore Roosevelt's sudden death on January 6, 1919. In the newly elected Senate, the Massachusetts Senator chaired the Foreign Affairs Committee. The personal relationship between Lodge and Wilson was hopelessly shattered. Lodge was deeply suspicious of Wilson. He considered him the "most dangerous man who has ever sat in the White House" and once confessed that for a long time he had not been able to imagine hating a political opponent like Wilson.7 The senator was at a dinner at the end of February 1919 to which Wilson had invited the members of the Foreign Affairs Committee, but saw his distrust of Wilson and the League of Nations confirmed. Lodge went on the offensive and read in the Senate a statement signed by 33 Republican senators - enough for a blocking minority - which described the League of Nations in its current version as "unacceptable". This was tantamount to an open declaration of war on Wilson and at the same time it was a message to his Paris negotiating partner not to rely solely on the President's word. Wilson's answer was not long in coming. On the same day, in a speech in New York, he attacked “the complete ignorance of world affairs” exhibited by “some gentlemen ”.8 When Wilson embarked for Europe on March 5, the domestic political fronts had hardened. This did not change until his return in early July, although the President kept his promise in Paris and enforced the express recognition of the Monroe Doctrine in the League of Nations statutes. The almost one-hundred-year-old, unilateral declaration forbade the European powers - at least in the understanding of the Americans - from interference in the "internal affairs" of the American continent. Wilson's critics feared that in the future the League of Nations could assume its role as a regulatory power in Central and South America and question the continental hegemony of the USA The Broken Heart of the World, 1919-1924 191. The fact that the French and British reluctantly gave in to Wilson's insistence and contractually stipulated the compatibility of the Monroe Doctrine with the League of Nations was, as the President rightly pointed out, the first time the doctrine was endorsed under international law.9 The challenge for Wilson was to convince the American public of the necessity and benefits of joining the League of Nations so that a sufficient number of skeptical senators, out of consideration for public opinion and the will of the electorate, would not withhold their approval. In the first few weeks after the statutes were published, the chances of this were not bad, because it would appear that the League of Nations was quite popular with the Americans. A survey of the editors-in-chief of almost 1,400 newspapers showed that more than half of the opinion-makers favored ratification without changes and a further 35 percent favored acceptance with reservations; only twelve percent were against membership in principle. The readers of some of the large papers, who were given the opportunity to express their views in a questionnaire, were 76 percent in favor of unreserved approval. Lodge assumed that the majority of Americans supported the League of Nations out of naive longing for peace and ignorance. Therefore, careful maneuvering was required at first. A purely negative attitude, he told a party friend, was wrong. First of all, a discussion had to be started that would make the people aware of the consequences of joining.10 While the Republicans were positioning themselves before the end of the conference, Wilson's hands were tied. Clemenceau and Lloyd George had enforced a restrictive press policy at the beginning of the Paris conference. The President, who had actually promised to keep the public fully informed of the peace negotiations, stubbornly refused to urge his press officer, Ray Stannard Baker, to keep in touch with American journalists in Paris at 192 Broken Heart of the World, 1919-1924. Wilson's silence heightened the distrust of his supporters on the progressive left, whose spokesmen were as critical of the League of Nations and Article X as many Republicans, albeit for completely different reasons. The progressive internationalists feared that the League of Nations, as a new holy alliance, was merely intended to ensure an unjust and untenable status quo. When the peace conditions became known in late May, the New Republic headlined: "This is no peace!" The treaty does not correspond to the Fourteen Points, but is an "inhuman monster" for which America must under no circumstances take responsibility. The Annoyance of the Liberal and Leftist Wilson- Republican Senator Henry Cabot Lodge (1850-1924) was Wilson's great adversary in the struggle to ratify the League of Nations. The Broken Heart of the World, 1919 - 1924 193 followers also grew because the President, on the advice of his Attorney General Mitchell Palmer, postponed an amnesty for imprisoned pacifists and critics of the war.11 The multiple sea voyages across the Atlantic and the grueling negotiations in Paris meant serious health problems for the now 62-year-old president. Wilson had suffered several minor strokes in his younger years, but so far mastered the demands of the presidency with no apparent difficulty. He kept himself fit by playing golf and loved going out in the automobile. He tried to hide health problems as much as possible. In addition, his personal physician Dr. Cary Grayson at his side, who accompanied him to Paris and repeatedly stopped for breaks. During his stay in Europe, Wilson showed visible signs of fatigue and became susceptible to infections. At the beginning of April 1919 he fell seriously ill with a febrile cold. It is unlikely that it was the Spanish flu, which claimed many millions of lives around the world between 1918 and 1920. Wilson was back on his feet relatively quickly, but people around him noticed heightened irritability. The president, who was stubborn and opinionated anyway, became more and more harsh and suspicious.12 As early as the fall of 1918, Wilson had indicated that he was ready to implement his vision of a reorganization of the world without regard to himself. For a "hundred years of peace" he wanted to spend the rest of his life reading poetry in a cellar. When Lloyd George once pointed out in Paris that the British House of Commons would overthrow him should he move away from his maximum position on the reparations question, Wilson instructed him that nothing is more noble than to fall in the fight for a just cause: “I can't think of any Imagine a greater place in the history books. " He also waged the “great struggle for the League of Nations”, as the president called the internal political confrontation with his critics, with the unshakable awareness that it was all or nothing. Failure 194 The broken heart of the world, 1919-1924 League of Nations, Wilson implored his compatriots, this would mean the death sentence for many American children who would have to die in a future war in which the very existence of civilization itself would be at stake. 13 In retrospect, Wilson's apocalyptic scenario seems prophetic. The dispute over the League of Nations is one of the great controversies in American history to this day, because the counterfactual question always resonates as to whether US accession would have made it an effective instrument of peacekeeping and prevented World War II. Even contemporaries fiercely argued about the responsibility for the US Senate to ultimately reject the League of Nations and with it the entire peace treaty. Did a possible compromise fail because of Wilson's stubbornness or were his opponents, as the President himself firmly believed, determined from the outset to bring down the League of Nations? Was a compromise possible, or were the antagonists' positions objectively incompatible because they had completely different ideas about America's international role? What role did Wilson's health breakdown play in the course of the debates and decisions? 14 Wilson's wish for the peace treaty to be ratified as quickly as possible was not realistic simply because Lodge, as chairman of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, had procedural sovereignty and could drag out the deliberations. First of all, the Senator requested the printed version of the contract and numerous additional documents and then had the entire text of the contract read out to the committee. Meanwhile, Wilson met with numerous Republican senators to get them to his side, because the opposition was by no means a single bloc. Apart from the implacable, it was divided into senators who were ready to ratify the treaty with "mild" reservations and those who had "strong" reservations, although opinions differed as to which reservations were "mild" and which were "strong" " were. The decisive factor for the assessment is which restrictions changed the content of the contract in such a way that, as Wilson repeatedly warned, all other signatories, including Germany, should have agreed. Some reservations were completely unproblematic in this regard, such as the required declarations that the US would not take over any mandate areas without the approval of Congress and that it could determine for itself which issues it considered internal affairs. On the other hand, a possible addition that the United States did not feel bound by votes of the League of Nations in which a member cast more than one vote affected the statutes directly. Anglophobic nationalists were furious that the British Empire, with Britain and its Dominions as voting members of the General Assembly, had a total of six votes, while the United States had only one. There was also fierce resistance to the transfer of German colonial rights in Shantung to Japan, which was widely scourged in the American public as a betrayal of China. Failure to recognize the relevant articles would have changed the substance of the peace treaty and would have been an affront to Japan.15 The core of the controversy, however, was Article X.Most Republicans wanted it to be made clear that the US did not feel bound by any assistance obligation, unless in each individual case the approval of Congress, which alone had the constitutional right to declare war. Henry Cabot Lodge insisted in the Senate that all Americans wanted peace. This, however, cannot be secured by idealistic visions of the future, but only by ensuring that America remains strong and independent and does not waste its strength by constantly letting itself be drawn into all the quarrels of the world.16 On August 19, 1919, there was a direct confrontation between Wilson and his fiercest critics when the Foreign Affairs Committee questioned him in the White House for more than three and a half hours about the League of Nations and the peace treaty. In his opening statement, the President declared that all doubts about the League of Nations had either been dispelled, such as the demand for recognition of the Monroe Doctrine, or were unfounded. Article X, he repeated his main argument, does not restrict the freedom of action of the USA: "It is a moral, but not a legal obligation." Wilson stepped on thin ice, because of course an international treaty was binding. He himself had emphasized that the League of Nations without Article X was a toothless debating club. Basically, Wilson was conciliatory and indicated that he was ready to accept clarifications to the treaty by the Senate, as long as these were not formally attached to the instrument of ratification. The implacable committee members, including Borah, gratefully accepted the ball and shortly after the meeting demanded that all Senate reservations be put to the vote as formal amendments. Such an approach would undoubtedly require renegotiations. Lodge gleefully passed a motion to annul the Shantung clauses and announced an equally harsh reservation against Article X.17 Wilson took off the gauntlet and made a momentous decision. At the end of August, he announced that he would shortly begin a journey of several weeks through the USA and hold numerous large rallies to convince the people of the League of Nations. Just as he believed in the fall of 1918 that a call to American voters would influence the congressional elections in his favor, just as he was convinced during the peace conference that the people could be mobilized over the heads of the European leaders, so he now believed that his opponents in the Senate did not represent the true will of their constituents and that Americans would follow him, the president, if he appealed directly to the nation. He ignored the setbacks he had suffered with this strategy, as well as the warnings from his wife and doctor about the burdens on his health. Wilson was determined to fight, to be more precise, to campaign, only he deliberately ignored the fact that there were no elections coming up. Almost all leading Völ- The broken heart of the world, 1919-1924 197 kerbund critics in the Senate had four to six years before they had to stand for re-election. In addition, it was by no means certain whether the League of Nations was really as important to the Americans as Wilson assumed. The post-war year 1919 caused other concerns for many people. The war boom had pushed prices up. At the same time, unemployment rose as millions of laid-off soldiers looked for jobs. Strikes paralyzed entire industries, and in Boston even the police went on strike. In early June 1919 bomb attacks allegedly carried out by anarchists rocked the country; one of the bombs exploded in front of Attorney General Mitchell Palmer's home. The growing racial tensions in the country erupted in violent riots in the summer of 1919, about which the president remained silent as usual.18 More and more Americans began to wonder why their president wanted to save the world when so many problems were pressing at home. Against this background, Wilson's tour of the country might seem like an escape forwards, which once again reflected his tendency to overestimate himself and to suppress unpleasant facts. On September 3, the President set out west from Washington, accompanied by his wife, Dr. Grayson, his private secretary Joseph Tumulty and a handsome entourage of staff, staff and journalists. Despite the convenience of the President's luxurious train, the journey was another formidable physical and mental exertion. Over the next 21 days, Wilson made 40 speeches in 16 states between Ohio and California. He spoke to crowds of up to 30,000 people, almost always without the not yet in use microphones and only with a few notes. The speeches, which he often varied spontaneously, were recorded in shorthand and immediately passed on to the press.19 Using all his rhetorical skills, Wilson defended the peace treaty as "unique in the history of the world" because it embodied the old order of the balance of power, the 198 Das broken heart of the world, 1919-1924 will replace secret treaties and militarism with a new order of peace and collective security. When the president exclaimed that the aggressor Germany would only receive just punishment for its crimes, the still popular war propaganda echoed. But it was much more important to him to convince his audience that the peace treaty was in line with his fourteen-point program, with the right to self-determination and, above all, with the national interest of the USA. He brushed aside all objections as malicious misunderstandings. Article X does not mean a renunciation of sovereignty, but only the voluntary renunciation of doing injustice. Reservations are unnecessary because the contract is completely clear on all points. The League of Nations is based on moral strength and not on physical coercion. The USA retained its freedom of action in all internal affairs and would also benefit economically from a liberal world economic order. In the foreground was the warning of the next war. If America does not join, humanity will lose its last hope and the old system of power politics will triumph. The US would then have to secure its security through armament, conscription and an increasingly powerful government. But if the American people follow the truth, Wilson declaimed at the end of his speech in Pueblo, Colorado on September 25, 1919, “then this truth will lead us and, through us, the world to the green pastures of calm and peace, of which the world has never even dreamed ». These were his last public words on this trip, because just a few hours later the president collapsed. Even if he initially resisted it, his state of health forced him to break off the trip.20 Wilson promoted his historic mission to the point of exhaustion on his “Speaking Tour”; he attracted a large audience that enthusiastically or at least applauded him ; the press reported extensively about his appearances. Nonetheless, he did not get out of the defensive, because his opponents The Broken Heart of the World, 1919-1924 199 did not remain idle either. While the president was touring the country, the Republican majority in the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee passed a number of sharply worded reservations, particularly against Article X, which on the matter amounted to a harsh rejection of the League of Nations. Even more dangerous for Wilson was the testimony of his former colleague, William Bullitt, to the committee. The once ardent Wilsonian, who resigned from the US delegation in May 1919 in protest against the peace treaty, felt personally betrayed by the president and now appeared as a witness for the prosecution. Bullitt quoted extensively the damning verdicts Foreign Secretary Robert Lansing had given him on the League of Nations during the peace conference. According to Lansing, this was a coup by the British and French and completely "useless" because none of the many nonsensical and unjust contract clauses would ever be changed. Once the Senate and the American people understood what the League of Nations really meant, they would no doubt oppose it. Bullitt's revelations hit the headlines, but Lansing refused to comment publicly. In his private correspondence, he admitted that Bullitt's testimony was largely true.21 The disloyalty of his own followers was a major setback for Wilson. Whether the president could have turned the tide again in full possession of his physical and mental strength remains to be speculation. On October 2, 1919, a few days after his return to the capital, he suffered a severe stroke that almost completely paralyzed the left side of his body. Wilson, however, remained conscious, mentally clear, and had difficulty speaking. Dr. Grayson immediately consulted neurologist ruled out a cerebral haemorrhage and acute danger to life. In mid-October, the patient's condition worsened due to inflammation of the prostate and a threatening bladder obstruction, which subsided after a few days.22 In the following months, the stroke tied the president to the hospital bed, where his wife Edith largely removed him from the broken one Heart of the world, 1919-1924 shielded from the outside world. In the decisive phase of the struggle for the League of Nations, the US president was a seriously ill, barely able to work man who received only carefully filtered information about the political situation. Wilson's intentions and declarations of will from this period are only transmitted through the records and memories of the few people who had access to him. Grayson and the rest of the attending physicians informed the public that the President was seriously ill, but gave no specific diagnosis. The press speculated about a nervous breakdown. The doctors expressly emphasized that Wilson was completely clear in consciousness and in good spirits, but had to take it easy for the time being; it would be a while before he could resume his official duties. The fact that the president had suffered a stroke was not mentioned.23 Meanwhile, members of the government asked for more information. Foreign Minister Lansing appointed Dr. Grayson at a Cabinet meeting on October 6, at which Grayson said not only that Wilson was active and in his right mind, but also conveyed the President's anger at Lansing's arbitrary summoning of the Cabinet. Wilson mistrusted his foreign minister and feared that he was going to turn him off. In fact, Lansing raised the question of whether the President was incapacitated and therefore Article II, Section 1 of the US Constitution must apply, which in this case transfers the business to the Vice President until the President can carry out his duties again or a new president has been elected.24 The constitution leaves open how incapacity is to be determined. In October 1919 contemporaries had only one precedent in mind, namely 1881, when the newly elected President James Garfield was shot by a dissatisfied supporter and died two and a half months later from his injuries. Back then, Vice President Chester Arthur did not take over the office and business of President until after Garfield's death. According to a popular bon- The Broken Heart of the World, 1919-1924 201 mot, US Vice-Presidents are always only a heartbeat away from power, but the most important recommendation for this office is usually that the "Running Mates" ensure balance within the party or come from a contested state. Wilson's Vice President Thomas R. Marshall was a colorless ex-governor from Indiana who played no political role in the administration and was not involved in important decisions. Wilson's opponents would of course have been delighted with the president's disempowerment and probably made appropriate advances to Marshall, but the vice-president refused to take over the presidency on his own initiative.25 The obvious solution would have been a voluntary resignation of Wilson, for which there was also no precedent . Dr. Grayson and other close advisers suggested the president resign several times; The latter possibly had a letter of resignation prepared in February 1920 when he again fell ill with a febrile infection.26 But all doubts as to whether he was still up to his position vanished in the face of the struggle for the League of Nations, which - he remained unshakably convinced - only he could win. Since Wilson had not been able to intervene personally in the ratification tug-of-war since the beginning of October, his followers in Congress could only speculate about his intentions and plans. The crucial question was whether he might be ready to speak to his critics after all. Before his tour, Wilson had given Senator Gilbert Hitchcock of Nebraska, the leader of the Democrats in the Senate, a confidential list of interpretations of the League of Nations that were acceptable to him. These, however, hardly accommodated the demands of the Republicans and in particular the constitutional rights of Congress were not mentioned at all. After his stroke, Wilson no longer gave any signs of willingness to compromise. On November 17th, two days before the Senate vote, Hitchcock visited the sick man for instructions. Wilson was more determined than ever. Any restriction to Article X would cut the “heart out of the body” of the treaty. He had long since ceased to believe that a vote in the Senate would be successful; once more he trusted the people and democracy. Wilson was hoping for the day when all the senators who voted against the treaty would have to justify themselves to their constituents: “Then I'll go to these gentlemen's states and it should cost my life. When the people first learn the truth, I'll get their political scalps. " Through Hitchcock's mouth, the President announced that if the Senate accepted the peace treaty with reservations, this would amount to "annulment" and he would not sign the ratification document. The senator also dictated a letter to Edith Wilson in which the president called on all "true friends of the treaty" to vote against the reservations made by Henry Cabot Lodge.27 On November 19, 1919, the Senate initially voted on Lodge's motion from ratifying the peace treaty with a total of 15 reservations. The Chamber voted against it with 55 to 39 votes, 42 "loyal" Democrats voted together with 13 "irreconcilable" Republicans. In another vote, a majority of 53 to 38 senators also rejected the unconditional ratification of the peace treaty. With or without reservations, a two-thirds majority was missing in both camps by around 20 votes. Wilson was neither surprised nor discouraged by the results of the vote: "I have to get well and bring the country to its senses," he commented on the result to his wife.28 In the meantime, Wilson's state of health had become a political issue. There was speculation that the President was being shielded from the public because he had gone mad, but that in reality Edith Wilson was in charge of the White House. Indeed, the First Lady controlled who could see the President, what information he received and what information about him leaked out. The Broken Heart of the World, 1919-1924 203, however, has no evidence that she made decisions on her own initiative against her husband's will. After all, Edith Wilson was persuaded by Joseph Tumulty to talk to her husband about the possibility of a compromise with Lodge after the first vote. But Wilson remained firm: All reservations would require new treaty negotiations and America could not take privileges that other nations would not grant it.29 At the beginning of December, the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee sent Gilbert Hitchcock and another Senator to Wilson, ostensibly to tell him about this to teach again tense relationship with Mexico, but probably mainly to sound out its condition. Wilson made an alarmed impression on the occasion, both visitors confirmed that he was capable of making decisions and was on the mend. He remained uncompromising on the question of ratifying the League of Nations. Press releases from the White House rejected any thought that the president might be prepared to make concessions if he tried again in the Senate.30 Wilson's stubbornness also made it increasingly difficult to deal with him personally. Foreign Secretary Lansing, whose relationship with the President had broken down since the peace conference, complained about Wilson's irritability and outbursts of anger. The disease brought out his worst character traits.The president granted his resignation in mid-February 1920 when he accused his foreign minister of continued disloyalty and harshly demanded that he resign. He was still accusing Lansing of the cabinet meetings he held after Wilson's stroke without permission. The accusation was somewhat absurd, as the foreign minister had only assumed responsibility for ensuring that the business of government continued. The controversy came to the fore, which almost unanimously supported Lansing. “Woodrow Wilson is a tyrant,” noted the relieved Secretary of State, “who goes so far as to demand that all people think like him, otherwise they will be denounced as traitors . " The selection of Lansing's successor helped confirm this judgment, as the President surprisingly appointed the little-known lawyer Bainbridge Colby as Secretary of State, who, although he had no international experience, was an ardent Wilson supporter.31 The stroke did not result in a complete exchange of personality for Wilson, it merely exacerbated many character traits that people around him had always complained about. Ray Stannard Baker, his press spokesman and an admirer of the president well beyond Wilson's death, wrote in his diary after Lansing's dismissal that illness often leads to a loss of control over the nature of strong personalities: “It is the same with the president. His tendency to dictate everything, his stubbornness, his inability to work trustfully with his co-workers, are now showing their worst side. »32 Wilson's self-righteousness, his overestimation of himself and his petty vindictiveness, as well as his pronounced ability to suppress, could also be added. which after the stroke led to a sometimes grotesque loss of reality. Wilson remained steadfastly convinced that the American people stood behind him and the League of Nations and would drive their opponents out of office as soon as they got the chance. In mid-December 1919 he drafted a hair-raising plan to publicly call 56 named senators to resign. They were supposed to face the electorate again as soon as possible, and in the event that a majority of them were to be re-elected, he wanted to offer his own resignation and the resignation of the vice-president.33 If the idea had gotten public, it would have been among the Americans rather, it reinforces the already growing doubts as to whether the president was still able to exercise his office. After the White House finally officially confirmed the diagnosis of a stroke in mid-February 1920, a former president of the American Medical Association suggested that Wilson be examined by a non-partisan medical team if the latter did not finally voluntarily resign. Wilson's doctors The Broken Heart of the World, 1919-1924 205 hastened to assure that the president was making good progress, that he could stand up and shave himself, that there was no reason why he should not hold cabinet meetings.34 In the meantime Many of Wilson's followers had come to the conclusion that a compromise had to be found with Lodge if the peace treaty was not to fail completely. From mid-January 1920, Joseph Tumulty had been working on building a bridge for Wilson. The president must seize the opportunity, he wrote to Edith Wilson, to either achieve ratification of the treaty quickly or at least to blame the Republicans for its failure. At the same time, Democrats and Republicans explored the possibility of an understanding behind closed doors in Congress. At the end of January, the former British Foreign Secretary Lord Edward Gray, who had just left his post as ambassador to Washington, caused a scandal when he wrote an open letter to the London Times calling on his own government to allow the United States to join the League of Nations Senate reservations to be accepted. The letter only expressed Grey's personal opinion, but was wrongly interpreted as being officious. The Republicans triumphed because Lodge had always assured the British and French would accept the peace treaty with American reservations. Wilson was outraged and forbade interfering in US internal affairs; he explained that if Gray were still an ambassador he would demand his recall immediately.35 The political public was increasingly under the impression that a reasonable compromise would fail because of Wilson's stubbornness. At the end of February, Tumulty urged the president that the “common man on the street” was in favor of ratification of the peace treaty, even with reservations, and that more and more Democratic senators were toying with approval of Lodge's version. Tumulty advised resigning oneself to the facts, but once again clarifying one's own position in a presidential statement. Wilson, however, was not willing to make a gesture that would have allowed his party friends to agree to the treaty and at the same time save face. On March 8, in an open letter to Senator Hitchcock, he confirmed his opposition to any watering down of the League of Nations in words that left nothing to be desired in terms of clarity: “Practically every so-called reservation actually amounts to the complete annulment of the entire peace treaty. I hear of reservations and mild reservations, but I don't understand the difference between annulment and mild annulment. ”36 That was a slap in the face even for the Republicans who, like ex-President Taft, had so far campaigned for membership of the League of Nations. Whoever is not for me is against me, was the unmistakable message. For Wilson it was only a matter of keeping enough Democrats involved to prevent ratification as Lodge proposed. The second and last vote in the Senate took place on March 19, 1920, this time only on ratification with reservations. Of the 84 votes cast, 49 were in favor and 35 against. It would have taken seven additional yes votes for an adoption. A majority of Democratic Senators voted in favor of Lodge, but 14 Republicans voted no. For the second time, the loyal Wilsonians, along with the irreconcilable, for whom lodge's reservations did not go far enough, brought down the League of Nations. America's accession to the League of Nations had thus failed again because of an "unreal majority". The Senate then decided to officially send the peace treaty back to the White House.37 With this, the Second Chamber had finally rejected Wilson's vision of a union of peoples under the leadership of the USA. Since the League of Nations and the Versailles Treaty formed a whole, America and Germany remained formally at war and had to conclude a separate peace treaty. However, this did not come about until August 1921. Far more serious for the European security architecture was that The Broken Heart of the World, 1919-1924 207, with the peace treaty, the American-French assistance pact that Wilson had granted the French also became obsolete. In 1923 the last US troops withdrew from the occupied Rhineland. Although the USA pursued a policy of financial and economic stabilization in Europe in the twenties, its withdrawal from security policy meant a serious weakening of the Parisian peace order.38 Therefore, a causal chain has repeatedly been drawn from the failure of the League of Nations in the US Senate for the Second World War. With a strong America as a member, the League of Nations would have been able to stop the aggressor states in good time.39 But just as little as a direct line from the Versailles Treaty leads to the rise of Hitler, the Versailles peace order would not have been without the United States doomed to failure a priori. After all, from the mid-twenties to the early thirties there were promising attempts at a European understanding between the victorious and the vanquished, which without the Great Depression and its catastrophic political consequences might have had a chance.40 On the other hand, the hopes that Wilson in articles appear X as an instrument of collective peacekeeping was far exaggerated. The League of Nations certainly made progress, such as the statute of the International Labor Organization and a further development of international law aimed at securing peace, but like its successor organization, the UN, it was not a suitable instrument for preventing wars and violence.41 Nonetheless, it is assumed that accession of the USA would have strengthened the League of Nations, not implausible. Therefore, the question of responsibility for his failure in the Senate remains controversial to this day. Wilson was firmly convinced that Lodge was not about reservations, but about the complete sabotage of the League of Nations, which is why concessions made no sense. Lodge denied this vehemently and accused Wilson of having torpedoed a very possible compromise out of vanity and hunger for power. It is obvious that the enmity between the two men was an obstacle to understanding that was difficult to overcome. Before the decisive vote in the Senate, Colonel Edward House, whom Wilson had banned from his sight since Paris, noted that he was no longer sure whether Lodge or the President was the worst enemy of the peace treaty. The view that Wilson, out of principle, put his own work to shame has caught on even among Wilson admirers among historians. According to his biographer John M. Cooper, the “tragic outcome” of the struggle for the League of Nations was to be blamed on Wilson, who in view of his state of health would have had to resign: “If he had done it, the League Fight would have turned out differently and the nation and the world would have been better off. ”42 Of course, the rivalry between Lodge and Wilson must not hide the fact that both men actually had hardly compatible ideas about the League of Nations. Wilson wanted an effective instrument of collective security that could also use military force if necessary. Lodge, on the other hand, saw the League of Nations as a mediator without coercive force and binding obligations for its members.43 Behind this were very different ideas about America's role in the world, which cannot be reduced to the catchwords internationalism or isolationism. Rather, it was essentially about how the US should exercise its new role as a world power. Lodge and other leading Republicans were not small provincial minds, but self-confident American nationalists, for whom unlimited national sovereignty, international freedom of action, and hegemony in the western hemisphere formed the indispensable basis of US foreign policy. They were realists insofar as they assumed that the order of the world rested on the selfish pursuit of national interests and the competition of great nations, among which America should be the most powerful. If others followed his ideals and his model of society as an example, so much the better. Wilson, on the other hand, had become the pioneer of the missionary variant of American nationalism since 1914 after The Broken Heart of the World, 1919-1924 209 and after. He saw the US's national interest in creating a liberal world order based on American ideas and under American leadership. As a benevolent hegemon, the USA therefore had to take on security policy duties and conform to the rules of international organizations. Both of these basic positions have shaped the debates on American foreign policy to the present day. Opinions continue to split on the question of whether America should shape the world order according to its model or whether the diversity and complexity of the world make such ideas an overbearing illusion.44 Even after the end of the struggle for the League of Nations, Woodrow Wilson was with his uncompromising attitude completely at ease. He had made solemn commitments in Paris, he justified himself a few days after the vote in the Senate to Dr. Grayson that he couldn't break. He saw defeat as the work of the devil, accepting it as final was out of the question for him. On the contrary, he was seriously considering running for a third term. At the moment, he revealed his calculation to his doctor, nobody in the party seemed to support his candidacy, but at the party congress in June there might be a dead end and then his manager would be asked again: “Under such circumstances I would be obliged feel like accepting the nomination, even if I thought it would cost me my life. " Wilson was still absolutely convinced that as soon as he appeared before the people, the Americans would follow him.45 Were these the illusions of a sick, bitter man who had lost all contact with reality? A third term would have been constitutionally permissible - the 22nd Amendment has only limited the President to a maximum of two terms of office since 1951 - but since George Washington had set a precedent by renouncing a third candidacy in 1796 210 The Broken Heart of the World, 1919-1924 , no US president had deviated from this rule; only Franklin D. Roosevelt dared to break with tradition in 1940. The fact that the Americans Woodrow Wilson, who had not appeared in public since October 1919 and there were reasonable doubts about his eligibility, would bring a triumphant third electoral victory, must have appeared in the spring of 1920 as a rather fantastic idea even to the most loyal Wilsonian. After all, the president was gradually recovering a little. He was able to walk more or less again, had held cabinet meetings since April 1920 and was chauffeured in an automobile with his wife. The slight improvement in his health apparently fed his hopes for a third term. He talked about making the presidential election a "big referendum" on his administration and the peace treaty. As a precaution, he even compiled a list of possible members of his third administration. The President did not stop at daydreams, but launched the news to the press that he was available as a candidate. Shortly before the party congress, he instructed Secretary of State Colby to propose him to the delegates, should the opportunity arise.46 Wilson planned to rally the party behind him and commit to an electoral program centered on the unconditional ratification of the League of Nations. Indeed, the San Francisco Convention showed that the president still had a large following in his party, including the young Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was improvising a parade in his honor. When a head-to-head race emerged between Wilson's son-in-law William McAdoo and Ohio Governor James Cox, President Colby gave the go-ahead to nominate him himself. But the idea met with unanimous rejection from all other leading Wilson supporters. Wilson's candidacy, said party leader Homer Cummings, would be a "tragic mistake" and the "death sentence" for the sick man. With all the admiration of the delegates for the president, Cummings did not believe that the congress would raise Wilson 211 times again.47 In the end, Governor Cox won the race. For Wilson this was a bitter personal disappointment. After all, his party declared itself in the election manifesto for the immediate ratification of the League of Nations, albeit with the addition that there was nothing against clarification of American duties. The Democrats supported Wilson's internationalism and attacked Lodge in particular in sharp tones. The Republicans also took a clear position. Wilson's League of Nations was an "unnecessary and unjustified break" with the venerable principles of Washington, Jefferson and Monroe. In his attempt to enforce the federal government unconditionally, the president acted like a “dictator” and left the Senate no choice but to reject it. Although outgoing presidents tend to hold back in the election campaign for their successors, Wilson announced the upcoming election of Woodrow Wilson and his wife Edith in June 1920 in October 1920. After his stroke in early October 1919, Edith Wilson shielded her husband from the public. The photo is supposed to demonstrate Wilson's capacity to act. 212 The Broken Heart of the World, 1919 - 1924 publicly on the “national referendum”, in which the question was whether the USA should ratify the Treaty of Versailles, join the League of Nations and assume its international responsibility.In his first public speech since the collapse in Pueblo a year earlier, he once again urged voters that the future of the world depended on the vote of the Americans.48 Even if many Americans and - for the first time - American women too, presumably shared their vote in November 1920 were not guided primarily by foreign policy considerations, the election resulted in the clear vote demanded by Wilson. With over 60 percent of the vote, the affable but uncharismatic Republican Warren G. Harding achieved the highest election victory in the history of the US presidential election. The Republicans continued to build their majorities in both houses of Congress, and in the Senate they now had a clear two-thirds majority. The Democrats were thrown back on their bases in the southern states, and even there they lost some of the votes. The Republicans had promised the voters a "return to normal" and that was exactly how the election result had to be understood. They regained their supremacy as a structural majority party that they had held since the civil war. In foreign policy, normality meant a return to freedom of association and freedom of action; domestically, it meant turning away from the spirit of progressivism. After two decades of internal reformism and external mobilization, the election year 1920 marked a conservative turn in American politics. Most Americans have also had enough of Wilson's missionary rhetoric and self-styling as the only and true representative of the will of the people. Republicans and Democrats alike agreed that it was not the hapless James Cox but Woodrow Wilson who was the real loser in the elections. The American people had voted on their term in office and a clear majority kept their thumbs down.49 The Broken Heart of the World, 1919-1924 213 Wilson's opponents savored their triumph. For Henry Cabot Lodge there was no doubt that the election result was a success of his own persistent educational work, which had finally brought the people to understand the dangers of the League of Nations. Wilson was not a visionary and idealist, the senator summed up in retrospect, but a petty and vain doctrinaire who had gambled away a great historical opportunity.50 Many of his supporters also saw Wilson's failure as the result of political errors and personal inadequacies. Wilson's inclination to demonstrate firmness in principles by denying facts and contradictions in often imperious rhetoric also drove allies and followers to despair. One frustrated supporter complained that standing behind the president was "physically impossible and intellectually absurd". The fact that the still imprisoned socialist leader Eugene Debs, whose pardon the president persistently refused to pardon, received more than 900,000 votes in the elections was a clear signal that the progressive left, which Wilson had supported as late as 1916, was turning away. But other groups of voters also took the opportunity to settle their accounts, such as the German-Americans, who took revenge on the Democrats for the humiliations of the war.51 By the end of his term in office, Woodrow Wilson's former popularity was largely eroded. Even the Nobel Peace Prize, which the US President was awarded in absentia on December 10, 1920 for his services to founding the League of Nations, did nothing to change the fact that Wilson felt betrayed by humanity, as he confessed to the historian and diplomat William Dodd. In addition, the consequences of the stroke still prevented him from public appearances. He had his last State of the Union address read to Congress in early 1921. The inauguration of new President Warren Harding on March 4, 1921 was a great physical and emotional challenge for Wilson, as the ceremony forced him to drive down Pennsylvania Avenue in an open car with his successor and brought him one last, decidedly cool encounter with his adversary 214 The Broken Heart of the World, 1919 - 1924 Lodge. He did not attend Harding's inauguration because he could not climb the steep steps to the Capitol. Together with his wife Edith, Wilson went to his new domicile in the elegant northwest of the US capital, where wealthy friends had financed the purchase of a house for him.52 Wilson's health improved only slowly after he moved out of the White House, as late as the end of 1922 he did not run without help.53 However, he had no intention of retiring to old age. Even before the end of his term in office, he had agreed to open a joint legal practice with Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby. Colby agreed to the proposal out of loyalty. Wilson, who had taken no pleasure in the legal profession as a young man, was neither physically nor mentally able to work and only appeared once in the office of the joint firm. In December 1922 the partners finally ended the collaboration by mutual agreement.54 Far more obvious than attorney was the idea that Wilson would build on his earlier successes as a book author. Shortly before the end of his presidency, Wilson's former head of propaganda, George Creel, urged the president to write his memoirs to tell the world his story of the war and the peace conference. Of course, Wilson shouldn't do the work alone. Creel gave the names of several historians and offered to take care of publishers and magazines himself; Wilson will make a lot of money with his books. However, much to Creel's annoyance, the latter had already commissioned his former press spokesman, Ray Stannard Baker, to sift through his files for future publications.55 Wilson never wrote his memoirs and did not realize various ideas on historical works. The only substantial publication after the end of his presidency was a relatively short article published by The Atlantic magazine in August 1923, incidentally after the Wilsons had previously indigned the handsome fee of $ 2,000 from another magazine The Broken Heart of the World, 1919-1924 had refused. The essay was entitled "The Road Away from Revolution" and was a haunting plea for the taming of capitalism, the excesses of which drove the masses all over the world into the arms of extremists, as the Russian Revolution had vividly demonstrated. The previous war, according to Wilson's diagnosis, made the world safe for democracy by putting the autocrats in their place, but democracy is still not safe from the danger of "irrational revolution". Only the renewal of civilization in the spirit of Christianity could bring about this reconciliation of capitalism and democracy.56 For a former US president whose term of office had been characterized by progressive economic reforms and a revolution in the international order, this was a remarkably poor ceterum censeo. In reality, Woodrow Wilson saw his future neither as a lawyer nor as a writer, but devoted almost all of his remaining energy to striving for a political comeback. In November 1922, he boasted to a fellow party member that he was the only person in the world whose principles did not need to be explained to anyone. He was still convinced that the defeats of 1919 and 1920 were due to a conspiracy of selfish elites, which he would defeat politically as soon as he was given the opportunity. The fact that Wilson refused to support his son-in-law William McAdoo in his second application for the nomination of the Democratic Party only led to the conclusion that he wanted to enter the race himself. The sudden death of President Harding on August 2, 1923 may have rekindled Wilson's hopes of a return to the White House, because on the fifth anniversary of the armistice in November he was able to skillfully stage himself with a radio address and a rally in front of his private house put. In mid-January 1924 he went on the offensive and presented the leadership of the Democratic Party with a kind of election platform that sharply criticized the domestic and foreign policy of the republican administration and once again the immediate accession of the USA to the League of Nations. Moreover, Wilson was already making notes for the speeches he would make on his nomination and his third inauguration. He remained convinced that he would have won in 1920 and was now waiting for a new chance to settle accounts with his opponents at the ballot boxes.57 Wilson's hope that his party would nominate him for a third time and that a refined electorate would pave his way back to the White House would appear grotesque, almost delusional, but it fits the character of the man who firmly believed in his mission and consistently ignored all facts and obstacles that were not in line with his self-image. In the years following the end of his presidency, he continued to assure confidants and family members that the name was Woodrow Wilson on December 28, 1923, his last birthday. Wilson dies on February 3, 1924. The Broken Heart of the World, 1919-1924 217 Rican people had been deceived, but they would recognize their real interests and join the League of Nations. Perhaps in 1919 the time was not yet ripe, he remarked to Bernard Baruch shortly before his death, but "the ways of the Lord are unfathomable." 58 Wilson misunderstood not only the political reality of the early twenties, but also the belief in its fullness health recovery was due to his iron will to self-deception. In the end his body took the inevitable toll, but a gracious fate saved him from a long illness. In late January 1924, in the midst of his plans for his political resurrection, Wilson suffered another collapse from which he never recovered. He died on the morning of February 3, 1924, accompanied by his wife Edith, daughter Margaret and Dr. Grayson, of heart failure. Numerous devotees gathered in front of his house for prayer. "I'm ready," he whispered to Dr. Grayson in agony.59 His heart was not broken, even if he could not carry out his political mission himself. The deeply religious man died, we may assume, in firm belief in a gracious God, as whose tool he had regarded himself throughout his life.